Putin apparently enjoys showing the world some muscle – literally.
In 2007, he entertained Prince Albert of Monaco on a fishing holiday to Russia's Altai region. One photo from the time shows him bare-chested while holding a fishing pole. His attire was combat trousers, a camouflage hat, and army-style boots. The famous scene has been immortalized in Russia with a Putin-gone-fishing doll.
In August 2009, he vacationed in the rugged Siberian region of Tuva. Photos showed him riding a horse and swimming the butterfly – which is considered the most difficult of all swim strokes – in an icy river. In both cases he was, of course, bare-chested.
"There are also problems with the [butterfly]," the Guardian wrote then. "It may have a fug of raw, sweating masculinity about it, but it's also the most irritating of all strokes. It's splashy and unsociable, an uncompromising stroke that pays no heed to the elderly gentleman choking on chlorinated backwash in the neighboring municipal lane.
"And so, as ever with these propaganda pictures, it's tempting to look for deeper meaning. Isolationist, prone to aggressive display, and not afraid of making waves: could Putin's fly also be a kind of aquatic metaphor for the way his Russia is heading? And if so, what does the one where he's feeding a horse mean?"